European leaders are becoming increasingly favorable toward French President Emmanuel Macron’s push for “strategic autonomy” away from the United States, European Council boss Charles Michel said Tuesday.
As controversy swells around Macron’s comments that Europe should resist pressure to become “America’s followers,” Michel suggested that the French politician’s position was not isolated among EU leaders. While Macron spoke as the French president, his views reflect a growing shift among EU leaders, Michel said.
“There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago,” Michel told French television show La Faute à l’Europe (which has a partnership with POLITICO) in an interview set to air on Wednesday.
“On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it’s clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn’t say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did … I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron.”
Following a trip last week to China with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Macron told POLITICO and French newspaper Les Echos that Europe had to limit its dependency on the United States and avoid getting pulled into “crises that are not ours.”
“There is indeed a great attachment that remains present — and Emmanuel Macron has said nothing else — for this alliance with the United States. But if this alliance with the United States would suppose that we blindly, systematically follow the position of the United States on all issues, no,” Michel said.
“The order of magnitude of the number of chartered air taxis is similar to those used by the Commission. I would note that people seemed to be moved about this for one case, but less so for the other,” he said.
He also said there was “absolutely nothing lavish” about his transportation budget, which is meant to ensure the EU can participate on the international stage. “It is moreover the wish of the heads of state and governments to have the European Council engage more with the rest of the world,” he said. “When [Russian] Minister Sergey Lavrov goes to Africa to spread Russia’s falsehoods, it’s important to counter fire.”
Source : Politico